Our current industrial, fossil fuel heavy agricultural system is incredibly polluting. Agriculture has become a major emitter of greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide -- which are now responsible for 19% of total global emissions.
Farming, if done properly, can actually decrease greenhouse emissions by increasing the soil’s carbon content, sequestering carbon that would otherwise be polluting, and in turn increasing productivity. New LDF partner The Carbon Cycle Institute is now working with 13 new farms across California to convert their farms to carbon farming models that can improve on-farm productivity and viability, enhance ecosystem functions, and stop, even reverse climate change.
Agriculture is the one sector that has the ability to transform from a major emitter of CO2 to a net carbon sink. There is no other human managed realm with this potential. Common agricultural practices, including driving a tractor, tilling the soil, over-grazing, using fossil fuel based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides result in significant carbon dioxide release.
Conventional farming requires heavy soil preparation and burning of unwanted biomass, which releases the carbon stored in it, contributing to climate change - none of which happens with conservation agriculture. Carbon can be stored long term (decades to centuries or more) beneficially in soils in a process called soil carbon sequestration. Numerous studies demonstrate the efficacy of several carbon-beneficial agricultural practices that increase soil carbon sequestration, most prominently Carbon Farming.
Through the application of compost, Carbon becomes the organizing principal around healthy soil carbon sequestration. Land management within this framework leads to enhanced rates of photosynthetic carbon capture, increases the provision of important ecosystem services (especially water), thus addressing climate change.